Attributes of a good MP

Trusty, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind.

Those are the virtues a Guide or Scout should possess. They’re a a good start for an MP too but the successful one needs much more than that.

MPs require intelligence, confidence, common sense, diligence, flexibility, humility, versatility, energy, patience, perseverance, stamina versatility, vision and wisdom.

They must be adaptable, compassionate, decisive, dependable, fair, honest, honourable, innovative, open, polite, reasonable, tolerant and tough. They need the ability to find solutions to difficult problems and stressful situations without becoming emotionally involved and the strength to say “no” when they can’t help.

The position requires MPs to work with all sorts of people regardless of their abilities, backgrounds and views without fear or favour.

MPs need to learn how to not take personal attacks personally. A well developed sense of humour, including the ability to laugh at themselves, is essential.

They must be able to admit mistakes and apologise for them.

They need the support of family and friends who will lift them up when they’re knocked back and keep the grounded  if they start getting carried away with their own importance.

They need to be articulate, enthusiastic and persuasive. They require the ability to read quickly, understand complex and sometimes contradictory information and to sort what’s important and right from what’s not.

 MPs need to know what they believe in. They must be sure about what they will tolerate and what they won’t; what they stand for and what they stand against.

They must support the philosophy and principles of the party for which they are standing and not be like  Marilyn Waring who told Chris Laidlaw she stood for the National Party so she could get into parliament, not because she believed in it.

Supporting the philosophy and principles of the party doesn’t mean they’ll agree with every policy. They must be able to accept the need to promote policies they might not agree with and choose very carefully the rare occasions when they will not be able to do that.

Tonight 60 members of the National Party will be choosing one of five nominees who will be the candidate for Botany.

They are:  Maggie Barry, Aaron Bhatnagar, Darron Gedge, Jami-lee Ross and Edward Saafi.

I don’t know any of them well enough to have a view on who will be the best candidate.

The list of attributes isn’t exhaustive and none of the five will have all the ones I’ve mentioned. But I hope s/he has most of them because the man or woman who wins the selection will almost certainly be the next MP for the electorate.

10 Responses to Attributes of a good MP

  1. pmofnz says:

    “… a good MP”

    Therein lies the crux of the issue, HP.

    IMNSHO, there is no such animal, but a smooth talking (well, sometimes), lying, conniving, self-serving beast who presents to the electorate as being the answer to all who might listen.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Oh dear, PMNZ, maybe I’ve had the good fortune to meet better ones than you.

    The perfect MP – or perfect person come to that – doesn’t exist but I’m lucky enough to know some very good ones.


  3. Neil says:

    What a sad attitude that pmofnz has towards our elected representatives.That’s our fault as voters !!
    Having seen about 6-7 reps in our constituency and found that only of that group would be someone I have less faith in. He was a disaster that even the party wouldn’t admit.
    MMP has a great plus – we can choose to vote for the party but if we don’t like the individual we can vote for someone else.
    What concerns me is the non involvement of the public in party matters. Back in the 60’s the National had branches in every nook and cranny of rural electorates. That kept those MP’s in real touch. With the break down of the branch system the lazy and cynical MP has potential to get away with poor service.
    As for Botany, may the best qualified(both in political nous and service to the party) win the job.


  4. gravedodger says:

    Neil it is only “our” fault as voters if the daft decision to change to MMP as our electoral system where voters are powerless to eliminate MPs that fail to perform is accepted. As a proud member of the minority 49. whatever % who didn’t support the system don’t blame me.
    How often does a poor excuse for an MP get the succinct message from an electorate only to still make the grade((used advisedly) as a “lister”. Then there are the sometimes or even too often faceless numpties who, due to luck, a perceived electoral value, or just pure inanity get high enough on a list of non achievers for what should be a Pressure Group within a mainstream party, find themselves in the parliament with basically zero personal mandate but able to exert power in decision making far beyond what most practical people would regard as reasonable. That weakness is also applicable to the three main parties although there are significant moves there to eliminate the tyre kickers.

    A very revealing comment in your post about Ms Wareing, to me she seemed a bit like a black ram in a merino flock.

    Btw Ele, applying your very full job description for an adequate MP to the current mob, a scarily large number would not even get an interview.


  5. robertguyton says:

    Neil – reading between your lines is pretty easy!
    Maggie’s not your cup of herb tea is she. If she wins the seat will you despair at National’s use of naked populism to win power?
    I suspect Ele’s ‘Marylin Waring’ reference is from the ‘sour grape’ fill in the National archvive.


  6. Peter says:

    Neil, the problem is the politicians don’t give a stuff about what the public think, most of the time. Apart from lolly scrambles, I mean election time, the control is from the removed occluded world of Party Headquarters or caucas. Political organisations are designed to use up, burn out or divert the energy of the enthusiastic, allowing the real control to continue unchecked.Anyone involved in politics for some time will come to understand that simple fact.Branches & members are deluding themselves if they think that they can effect any influence over policy. Politics is cynical. By their fruit you shall know them.


  7. robertguyton says:

    Good grief! ‘file’ and ‘archive’.
    Neil no doubt has very real influence over his electorate’s representative, Bill English and is able to guide Bill’s decisions on matters financial.
    By Bill’s fruit we do know him!


  8. pmofnz says:

    “maybe I’ve had the good fortune to meet better ones than you”

    I thank my good fortunes that the only politician I’ve ever come close to meeting was that Nat short-arse Piggy Muldoon.

    Commenter Peter sums up well

    “By their fruit you shall know them”


  9. homepaddock says:

    PMNZ – that explains your jaundice 🙂


  10. robertguyton says:

    I once met Johnathan Hunt and he was very jolly and amusing. That same night I met Winston Peters and our immediate dislike for each other was visceral 🙂
    Had dinner with Keith Locke too and he was very engaging. Parekura Horomia was at the next table and he was surprising. I breakfasted with Brash (nice enough) and met Judy Kirk (scary!) and I’ve known Heather Roy personally for years and years and was friends with Rod Donald until that was no longer possible. Met Key too. Cold.
    Politicians aren’t cut from the same cloth and when someone tars them all with the same brush I laugh.


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